For the adventurous or those with adventurous spirit, Canada’s wild side entices groups to step outside of their comfort zone and into the world of Canadian national parks.
For more than 100 years, National Parks of Canada has protected and presented natural areas of Canadian significance from Atlantic Canada to and over the Canadian Rockies.
These five parks welcome groups to visit, to leave no trace and to take home a suitcase full of memories.
Banff National Park
It was 1883 when Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers discovered a cave containing hot springs on the Eastern slope of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. The springs were the first draw to the area that evolved into 2,564 square miles (6,641 square km) of pristine mountain scenery that became Canada’s first national park, Banff.
Of all the activities at Banff, hiking is the most popular. Trails have been developed for every experience level. All wend in view of reflective blue lakes, old growth trees and plenty of wildlife. Banff National Park is one of the world’s premier destination spots.
Gros Morne National Park
Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland
A national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Gros Morne captivates tours with its seaside communities, the whale migration and the world of plate tectonics. Gros Morne is the world’s best example of plate tectonics, which are used to study geological evolution.
On land, groups have a variety of hiking options. At sea, boat tours bring them close to whales and under cliffs that were carved by glaciers. In town, add a stop at the Gros Morne Wildlife Museum and the Bonne Bay Marine Station.
Jasper National Park
Getting around any section of the 4,247 square mile (11,000 square km) Jasper National Park in Alberta is a thrilling undertaking.
The park installed Adriondack chairs at several locations to encourage hikers to stop and connect with the landscape — be it a waterfall, canyon, mountain or a glacier.
The wildlife spotted in Jasper has a good chance of being on a watch list; 97 percent of the wildlife is protected.
Of all the Canadian parks, Jasper National Park offers the largest number of planned activities including paddle boarding, hang gliding and paragliding.
For night owls, Jasper is the second largest accessible Dark Sky Preserve in the world.
Georgian Bay Islands National Park
The Georgian Bay Islands may be Canada’s smallest national park, but it is home of the world’s largest freshwater archipelago. The total land mass measures only 5 ¼ square miles (14 square km.) and is divvied among 30,000 islands.
Accessible by boat only, groups take the Daytripper to Beausoleil, the largest island in the park and the only one with hiking and biking trails.
Parts of the Canadian Shield are visible on the islands. The shield consists of the rocky remnants of the first part of the continent to be rise above sea level.
Wood Buffalo National Park
Fort Smith, Northwest Territories
Follow the call to the boreal north at Wood Buffalo National Park where superlatives reign. Located in Alberta, at 17,300 sq. miles (44,807 sq. km), it is Canada’s largest park and the second-largest national park on the planet.
The park protects the cultural heritage of the Aboriginal residents living in the boreal north.
Among its accolades, Wood Bison is a UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrating the Peace-Athabasca Delta, one of the world’s largest freshwater deltas.
The park protects one of the only two known whopping crane nesting sites. That’s just on land.
In the sky, Wood Bison secures the world’s largest Dark-Sky Preserve.